This guest blog was contributed by Jan Bailey; Coordinator of the Over the hill? Ageing in rural England campaign. She previously worked with the Rural Media Company on Travellers Remember project.
Rural retirement is the dream of many an urban dweller. In fact, in a recent survey 57% of those over 55s questioned stated that the idea of moving to a rural area in their retirement was either appealing or very appealing,
Perhaps this is not surprising when one considers the way that rural life is depicted on our TV screens. Rolling countryside, beautiful scenery, wholesome country folk and traditional lifestyles all contribute to the vision of a great place to retire.
Undoubtedly, the reality does often live up to the dream –especially for those in their middle years who are fit and able and willing to get involved with their local communities.
However, for the frail, immobile or isolated, rural living can present difficulties not always appreciated by the aspiring rural retiree.
Age UK is partner to Over the hill? – a campaign that aims to raise awareness of some of these issues. As part of this campaign, a new drama short film has just been launched which tells the tale of a middle-aged couple coming to view what seems to be their dream retirement home, only to find that life in the countryside isn’t always a bed of roses.
Starring Doreen Mantle (One Foot in the Grave) and Joan Blackham (Bridget Jones’ Diary), the film depicts in a moving and graphic way some of the issues facing those choosing a rural retirement.
The film is the latest in a collection of campaign resources that can be accessed free of charge from www.overthehillcampaign.org.uk. As well as the drama short, there’s a collection of 8 films depicting good practice in rural older people’s services, a fact sheet and in-depth report.
The aim of the campaign is not to put people off rural retirement, but to encourage them to ‘wise up’ to what it means.